Using X-rays, lasers, dye penetrants, eddy currents, coordinate measuring machines and other technologies, Bellis’ group performs non-destructive testing (that is, testing that does not damage or destroy the material being analyzed) to ensure the safety and quality of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.
We use microfocus radiography, shown here, to non-destructively assess the depth of penetration of a laser weld in a tube. The microfocus X-ray machine, which provides the capability to detect minute details of the weld through high-resolution digital images, produces a minimum “focal spot” of 6 pm.
“The technology behind what we do is exciting and challenging,” said Bellis. “I come from a medical background, so the microfocus X-ray machine is particularly interesting to me. That being said, what I enjoy most about my job is passing along the importance of what we do. I think a job is more interesting and satisfying when you understand why you do your job, when you know how you make a difference.”